Recycling Tracker

The Recycling Tracker keeps you informed on how we are performing as a community in both recycling and landwaste production.

We are making great strides towards improving recycling here on campus. Check in with us often to see how we are doing and thanks for doing your part!

Glass, Metal, and Plastic Recycling in Tons by Month

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Note: These data are our best estimates. Because we’re charged for a minimum of one ton in each dumpster, a dumpster with only a few bottles would be listed as one ton on our invoices. While this would almost never happen, what this means is that if it’s listed as one ton on our graph, it may actually be a little less.

On average, in the ’06-’07 academic year, we recycled a little more than a ton of glass, metal, and plastics each month. Our recycling program was started in June, so July was the first month anything was recycled. Soon after we supplied Scribner Village and the Northwoods Apartments with recycling bins and curbside pickup, we saw some improvement. During April, the Environmental Action Club focused on building awareness of the recycling program, and we jumped to 3 tons in April alone. This graph shows that we are keeping about a ton of material out of landfills each month, and more importantly, it shows that when the campus comes together and makes a real effort, as we did in April, we see a big difference. The graph naturally declines in June, reflecting the end of the academic year, when most of our population leaves campus.


Cardboard Recycling in Tons by Month

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Note: Just like Glass, Metal, and Plastic, cardboard has a 1 ton minimum charge per dumpster. 1 ton on the graph may not actually be one ton.


In the ’06-’07 Academic year, Skidmore recycled between 1 and 2 tons of cardboard a month. In both July and August, 2 tons of cardboard was contaminated and had to be thrown out as trash. This means that either trash was thrown in with the cardboard, or there was  food-contaminated cardboard (ie pizza boxes) in the container. If any paper products such as cardboard gets wet, it may be rejected as well.

If we are careful to recycle only approved paper products and make sure we don’t throw trash in to the paper dumpster, we can recycle a lot of material. However, if even one person decides to put trash in with the paper, the whole dumpster could be sent to the landfill.

Paper is an efficient recylable- it takes very few resources to turn it back into more useable paper. If we are careful to recycle properly, we can do a lot of good by recycling our paper products.

Trash Sent to Landfill in Tons By Month

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During the ’06-’07 year we saw 12-15 tons of garbage generated per month in our 30-40 cubic yard “rolloff” dumpsters. This graph only depicts the tonage generated from this large dumpster and not the smaller dumpsters that are around campus. These smaller dumpsters are collected anywhere from once weekly to once daily and the price is the same regardless of the tonnage, making it very difficult to get an estimate for the purposes of this graph. This means that in actuality, we may generate 20 or possibly up to 25 tons of waste per month! Collecting data from only the rolloff dumpsters may not be as accurate as we’d like, but it does accurately show the campus’ waste production trends. This graph does not show the exact weight per month of the waste we produce, but it is a valuable tool for understanding how and when we produce waste. The spike in July and August was due to construction projects, and the leveling-off in September through November reflects average on-campus waste production. There’s a dip during our vacation reflecting the fact that fewer students are on campus at this time. The massive spike in late April and May was because we put rolloff dumpsters around campus for students as they moved out of their housing. Students throw out massive amounts of useful stuff, rather than taking it home with them. A little bit of planning can make a big difference. As a community we can help in the effort put forth by the Environmental Action Club, in their end-of-year Trash to Treasures program. This last year, they collected multiple truck loads of useful goods that students left behind and gave it to the Salvation Army to sell or give away to the local community members.

 

Comparison of Recycling Production and Landfill Waste Production

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This graph shows the relationship between garbage production and recycling. While we should applaud our efforts to recycle in the month of April, we should keep in mind that waste production in April was second only to the quantatity was saw in May.

Middlebury College, generally recognized as one of the leaders in campus recycling programs, estimates that over 60% of their waste is recycled. Middlebury has a lot more money to spend on their programs, and even has a recycling sorting facility on their campus. We may not be ready to hit Middlebury’s 60%, but if we work to recycle more and waste less, we could see huge increases. We have a good recycling system set in place and now it lies in the hands of the students, faculty and staff on campus.

 

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